Once you’ve had your horizons dramatically shifted, you’ll always come back different. Every one of the Doctor’s former companions knows this. They’ve seen things that the majority of their fellow humans don’t believe in. They’ve taken part in enormously significant events, but can’t ever really talk about it, because no one will believe them. They’re heroes and heroines, saviors of whole civilizations, but not on their home planet.
No one embodies this contradiction better than Donna Noble.
When it was first announced that Catherine Tate would become the Tenth Doctor’s next assistant after Martha Jones, people were concerned. Catherine was best known as a sketch comedienne, had already made a huge name for herself in the UK, to such a extent that she had managed to convince the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to appear in a sketch with her.
Doctor Who has a thick seam of comedy running through it, always has had, but alarm bells were ringing. The show had only been back a few years, by bringing in a comedy performer with their own cultural baggage, could things tip over into panto territory? Was the show in danger of falling back into its bad old self-referential wink-wink “let’s put this in for the fans” ways?
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